Jiggs Donahue, Billy Gilbert, and Bill Friel (left to right) of the Milwaukee Brewers recorded the first triple play in American League history on July 14, 1901, against the Chicago White Stockings.[1]

In baseball, a triple play (denoted as TP in baseball statistics) is the act of making three outs during the same play. There have only been 735 triple plays in Major League Baseball (MLB) since 1876,[1] an average of just over five per season.

They depend on a combination of two factors, which are themselves uncommon:

In baseball scorekeeping, the abbreviation GITP can be used if the batter grounded into a triple play.[3]


The most likely scenario for a triple play is no outs with runners on first base and second base, which has been the case for the majority of MLB triple plays.[1] In that context, two examples of triple plays are:

Most recent MLB triple play

The most recent triple play in MLB was turned by the Los Angeles Angels on August 18, 2023, against the Tampa Bay Rays in the top of the ninth inning. With Yandy Díaz at third base and Randy Arozarena at first base, Harold Ramírez hit a ground ball that began a typical double play, with shortstop Luis Rengifo throwing the ball to second baseman Brandon Drury to retire Arozarena (first out); Drury then relayed the ball to first baseman Nolan Schanuel to retire Ramírez (second out). However, Díaz attempted to score from third base, and Schanuel threw the ball to catcher Logan O'Hoppe who tagged out Díaz as he slid into home (third out).[10] It was the Angels' first triple play since the 1997 season.[11] The Angels went on to lose the game.

Unassisted triple plays

Bill Wambsganss executed an unassisted triple play in the 1920 World Series.

Main article: Unassisted triple play

The rarest type of triple play, and one of the rarest events of any kind in baseball, is for a single fielder to complete all three outs in one play. There have only been 15 unassisted triple plays in MLB history,[12] making this feat rarer than a perfect game.[13]

Typically, an unassisted triple play is achieved when a middle infielder catches a line drive near second base (first out), steps on the base before the runner who started there can tag up (second out), and then tags the runner advancing from first before he can return there (third out). Of the 15 unassisted triple plays in MLB history, 12 have been completed in this manner by a middle infielder.

Most recent MLB unassisted triple play

The most recent MLB unassisted triple play is consistent with the above – it occurred on August 23, 2009, by second baseman Eric Bruntlett of the Philadelphia Phillies, in a game against the New York Mets. In the bottom of the ninth inning with men on first and second base, the base runners were both running when Jeff Francoeur hit a line drive very close to second base, which Bruntlett was covering. Bruntlett caught the ball (first out), stepped on second base before Luis Castillo could tag up (second out), and then tagged Daniel Murphy who was approaching from first base (third out).[14][15] This was only the second game-ending unassisted triple play in MLB history, the first one having occurred in 1927.[16]

Unfielded triple play

Political columnist and baseball enthusiast George Will posed one hypothetical way that a triple play could occur with no fielder touching the ball. With runners on first and second and no outs, the batter hits an infield fly, and is automatically out: one out. The runner from first passes the runner from second and is called out for that infraction: two outs. Just after that, the falling ball hits the runner from second, who is called out for interference: three outs.[17]

Whenever a batter or runner is out without a fielder touching the ball, MLB rule book section 10.09 provides for automatic putouts to be assigned by the official scorer. In this case, the first out would be credited to whoever the official scorer believes would have had the best chance of catching the infield fly. The second and third outs would be credited to the fielder(s) closest to the points the runners were, when their respective outs occurred. Under the scenario described above, the same fielder (the shortstop, for example) could be credited with all three putouts, thus attaining an unassisted triple play without having touched the ball.

While this has never occurred in a Major League game, Texas League Hall of Famer Keith Bodie tells Sporting News that this event occurred in a 1986 spring training game.[18]

Odd and notable triple plays

Joe Pignatano hit into a triple play in the final at bat of his career.

Historical totals

The statistics below reflect historical totals through August 18, 2023.


Position of baserunners when the triple play started.

Men on base Occurrences[1] Percentage Most recent
1 2 - 496 67.48  25-Jul-2023
1 2 3 130 17.69  29-Jul-2020
1 - 3 71 9.66  18-Aug-2023
- 2 3 37 5.03  17-Jun-2021
1 2 ? 1 0.14  11-Jun-1885†
Total 735 100  

† This triple play, by the New York Giants against the Providence Grays during the 1885 season, was scored as 4*-4*-3*,[1] with a newspaper account the next day naming the fielders, batter, and runners at first and second;[39] however, it is unknown if there was a runner at third base.


Asterisks (*) denote which players recorded outs, per standard baseball positions.
Combinations that have occurred at least 10 times are listed individually.

Fielders Occurrences Percentage Most recent
5*-4*-3* 105 14.29  20-Sep-2022
6*-4*-3* 58 7.89  18-Sep-2022
4*-6*-3* 44 5.99  06-Jun-2014
3*-3*-6* 41 5.58  22-Aug-2022
6*-6*-3* 28 3.81  08-Jul-2016
4*-4*-3* 22 2.99  02-May-2017
4*-3*-6* 18 2.45  03-May-1985
1*-6*-3* 16 2.18  19-May-1997
6-4*-3*-2* 14 1.90  18-Aug-2023
5*-5*-3* 11 1.50  29-Jul-2020
5-4*-3*-2* 10 1.36  24-Aug-2014
all others 368 50.07 
Total 735 100  


Cultural references

On June 27, 1967, the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates staged a triple play before their game at Shea Stadium for the film The Odd Couple.[40] The scene depicts Bill Mazeroski of the Pirates grounding into a game-ending 5-4-3 triple play.[41][42] Mazeroski, who played 17 major league seasons, was involved in only one actual MLB triple play; he was the runner on second base when the Chicago Cubs turned a 3-3-6 triple play on October 3, 1965.[1][43]


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  3. ^ Noble, Marty (June 2, 2015). "Triple-play threat: Robinson holds infamous mark". MLB.com. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  4. ^ "Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles Play by Play and Boxscore". Baseball Reference. July 7, 1973. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  5. ^ "Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers Play by Play and Boxscore". Baseball Reference. July 20, 1973. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  6. ^ "Brooks Robinson Quotes". Baseball Almanac.
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  13. ^ DiComo, Anthony (December 30, 2009). "Mets bear the Brunt of unassisted triple play". MLB.com. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
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  16. ^ Zolecki, Todd (August 23, 2009). "Bruntlett joins rare company". MLB.com.
  17. ^ Will, George (March 28, 2009). "Spring Brain Training". Newsweek.
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  39. ^ "New Yorks, 4; Providences, 3". Fall River Globe. Fall River, Massachusetts. June 12, 1885. p. 4. Retrieved July 29, 2020. Gerhardt and Connor made a beautiful triple play in the sixth, retiring Start and Daily at second and first on a liner from Irwin's bat.
  40. ^ 50 Years Ago Today: Classic Shea Stadium Scene In Odd Couple, 27 June 2017, MetsMerizedOnline.com
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